POET Articles

From sixth graders to chemical engineers: Workforce development STEM program connects kids with careers

Call this a formula for workforce development success: The Sioux Falls Development Foundation and POET teamed up recently to provide a memorable lesson for Brandon Valley sixth graders.

The program included a lesson on POET itself, the careers available there and a hands-on activity that introduced concepts of chemical engineering.

“It’s an excellent way to get kids exposed to careers and opportunities out there and tie that to what they’re doing in school,” said Bob Mundt, Development Foundation president and CEO, who rolled up his sleeves and helped students through the hands-on activity.

“I was amazed how the kids took to it and took to their roles and responsibilities,” he said. “This is early-stage workforce development – it’s not for next week – but five to 10 years from now, we’re still going to need them entering fields like this.”


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New additions to ag education prepare students for jobs of the future

One look at some of the newest additions to South Dakota State University make it clear: Ag-related education is changing.
 
“We’re doing things that are really relevant to all the real, major grand challenges that face society today,” said John Killefer, the South Dakota Corn-Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
 
There are 2,000 undergraduates and 300 graduate students in the college, spread across 23 majors. Many of them are working and learning in facilities unlike any other in the country – preparing them for a huge range of in-demand jobs.
 
“There’s probably never been a more exciting time to be in this type of college for a student in the future than it is today,” Killefer said.


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Workforce development in 2020: Attracting, retaining and developing talent through collaboration

Career, community and cause.

That’s what research shows drives decision-making for talented workers today, and those three concepts help form the cornerstone for how the Sioux Falls Development Foundation plans to build on its approach to meeting current and future industry workforce needs.

“Talent today wants to feel a career path exists for them to develop professionally and contribute to a company with purpose, and beyond that, they want to feel they can connect to a community and support causes they’re passionate about,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “Our efforts this year will put an enhanced focus on showing those career journeys from childhood through retirement and on highlighting our incredible community and the individuals who give of themselves to make it the kind of place where others will want to build their future.”

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation, backed by Forward Sioux Falls and its investors, leads the workforce development effort for the Sioux Falls community and is coming off a strong year.


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